I understand the definition of remit; so I am not asking about it. I just want to delve in deeper. I also recognise the Etymological Fallacy and its various drawbacks. So how should I interpret or rationalize its etymology, in order to intuit or naturalise it, and to help me remember?

1. remit = [chiefly British] The task or area of activity officially assigned to an individual or organization

2. An item referred to someone for consideration

Etymonline: late 14c., "to forgive, pardon," from Latin remittere "send back, slacken, let go back, abate," from re- "back" (see re-) + mittere "to send" (see mission). Meaning "allow to remain unpaid" is from mid-15c. Meaning "send money (to someone)" first recorded 1630s. Related: Remitted; remitting.

For instance, how does re- fit the 2 definitions above? Both refers someTHING NEW to someONE NEW. Yet back implies a reappraisal; so what's sent back?

Footnote: I encountered remit, in the last sentence, of the last para, of p 7 of 16 here.

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    I've always thought of "remit" as "what is properly mine". My "remit is the Northeast territory", "please remit payment for services performed", etc. – Dan Bron Oct 24 '14 at 11:17
  • @DanBron In American English, your example, "please remit payment for services performed" is the ONLY usage with which I am familiar! We use it in accounting, well, bookkeeping, a lot. – Ellie Kesselman Oct 25 '14 at 4:57

As a native British English speaker, I have a vague preference for stressing the first syllable for #1: "I have a wide REmit", and stressing the second for something related to remittance ("the Court of Session may accept a reMIT").

A memory aid could be:

  1. REmit is like GAmut; this is the stuff encompassed by a job, like a gamut is the colours encompassed by a printer.
  2. reMIT is like a reTURN in tennis, a court can agree to a reMIT and thus a reTURN of the case to a lower court. As "a return" is to "I return", so "A remit" is to "I remit".
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  • This answer is interesting, but its focus on pronunciation seems a bit far afield from the posted question's emphasis on varied senses of the prefix 're-' and their possibly divergent etymological trails. – Sven Yargs Dec 19 '18 at 22:39

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